Terrible

I admit it, I am a terrible person. Why you ask? Well, because I gloated to myself over another.

Ok, so I don’t feel terrible but I also know I shouldn’t gloat. Let me ‘esplain’. There is a guy at the gym who pre-pandemic was all about his fitness. That, of course, is a good thing, except he was always humble bragging about how important fitness is to one’s health and side-shaming everyone around him. He would routinely make rather insulting comments about anyone he didn’t think put in as much effort as he did. I personally witnessed him fat shame a couple ladies on treadmills to one of the few guys in the gym who would socialize with him. I could go on but I think I conveyed the point.

Oh, and he is also a grunter. Any and every exercise was like he was dying to get that last set in, except it was every set. The worst, right?!

After seeing this guy and his snotty attitude for years at the gym, imagine my surprise upon seeing him lately. OMG! He gained like 40 or 50lbs of chunk. Yes, I know this is the “I’m terrible” part but I can’t help it. And maybe gloating isn’t the right word. I mean, it isn’t like I ran up to him and said, “hey fatty” or made any of the off-hand comments in his presence he used to make about others.  No, I did not do any of that. I’m just a little gleeful to see him get some comeuppance after years of his shitty attitude.

So while I work on keeping the smugness off my face, my hope is that whatever experience he had during the pandemic has taught him a lesson. Yes, fitness is important. However, it isn’t always easy for someone to dedicate themselves to the gym. And talking smack about people on a fitness journey sure as hell doesn’t encourage them to get better or stick with it.

I’m terrible.

 

Awkward

**Disclaimer – an adult rant today about gay shit, you’ve been warned.**

I’ve been navigating the “apps” again recently. I haven’t settled on any hard and fast rules that guide me as of yet, other than honesty. Having had my vaccination shots, I’m relieved on so many levels. However, I still need to worry for those around me as the science isn’t clear yet on the level of protection. Going thru a year of very limited human contact takes its toll. And things are moving so quickly now, it may be moot by the time I figure it all out.

Anyway, I was on one such app when a rando decided to send me a long winded message telling me how non-masculine he felt I was. He was particularly detailed, which would have been comical if it weren’t so sad. He clearly lives local and has seen me around1 as he listed a varied “suggestion list” of things I could do to butch it up. I’m not willing to dwell on the idea he may have actually thought he was being helpful as it would make me very sad.

The joke is on him though as I wasn’t bothered by it. To be fair, there was a time in my life when I would have been secretly devastated. However, that was a long time ago and that particular insecurity has left the building, so to speak. Lawd knows I’ve beaten that horse here often enough.

Our little letter in the alphabet mafia has had a continuing obsession with the idea of masculinity. Ask 10 of my fellow homos the meaning of the word and you’ll most like get 10 different answers. Western culture has become so dependent on the broken idea of hyper-masculinity I doubt we’ll ever sort it out.

I keep getting off topic, sorry I am a bit rusty at this.

The guy listed out my demeanor in public as a ‘dead give away‘. Well, no shit Sherlock!  I do not mold myself in the view of how others see me. I didn’t struggle with the shackles of one broken stereotype to take up another. In a word, I can be awkward at times. While I still have a few small triggers to put on my “big boy” voice, I strive not to put on a facade. My hubby calls it my work voice. Anyway, some random task or action can invoke my rather absent-minded approach to things. There isn’t a lot of forethought put into it, I just act. If that destroys your image of me, oh well. We have a saying for that where I’m from…bless your heart. I’ve learned my demeanor also has the affect of putting people at ease around me. People rarely feel threatened or triggered by me and without realizing it often relax into a more authentic version of themselves.2  It was quite a revelation when that little kernel of knowledge dawned on me all those years ago.

Of course, now that I’m an elder and on the council I do have to maintain an image. lolol I politely told him his ‘advice’ was not needed. I didn’t feel the need to thank him though. *giggle* Was I too subtle?

 

  1. His profile was of course devoid of any photos…I know, right!? lol []
  2. There are few who have the opposite reaction and think I’m an easy mark. They often find out quickly I’m also not stupid. []

Fine

I’ve been so serious here as of late so I thought I’d share something funny that happened to me this past week.

An attorney calls up one day a couple weeks ago about a records request we had produced for him. One of the discs had some erroneous data on it. No biggie, while rare it does happen, we made a mistake. We promptly sent him a new copy.

Fast forward to this past week. The guy calls back and this time one of the discs is blank, or so he says. I’m a bit less cordial (without being rude) this time as I begin to suspect he is playing us. It isn’t unheard of for an attorney to try and get one over on our office for a variety of reasons. Being devious, I offer him the option to swing by and drop off the disc so I can give him the new one vs making him wait while we mail him yet another disc. Now our lobby is currently closed to the public due the pandemic, but with the lower cases lately we have some discretion. And in my head I’m thinking I’m going to catch him in a big lie. Well, the joke ended up being on me.

He swings by and I get a call from the Sheriff desk he is here. I put on my best bitchy “I caught you in a lie” face and head down. And then it all just falls apart. I first had to pick my jaw up off the floor as the MF’r was FINE as hell!  I mean, “drop an egg and it roll down my pants” fine! I mean slap yo momma fine! He was stunning! Imagine Tom Ellis from the show Lucifer, but a bit shorter, dark blond hair, piercing green eyes, a slightly stronger jaw line covered in stubble and slightly more bulging muscles. He is wearing a well fitted shirt/tie with slacks. I actually caught my breath because I was so utterly shocked. If I had pearls I definitely would have clutched them in that moment. hehehe It was made worse by his completely calm and friendly demeanor, no gaydar pings unfortunately. He was nice and had these big paw like hands on him as he reached to shake my hand. (We aren’t supposed to shake hands but lawd baby jeebus I’ve had my shots and I couldn’t help myself.) I tend to have a firm handshake and guys will often comment on it. He did comment and I melted like butter inside. You could have scraped me off the floor.

And sure enough the disc was blank. So then I felt about two feet tall for thinking the worst and was falling all over myself to apologize, all the while taking in the breath-taking display that is this M-A-N! It is made worse because I think I actually felt myself blushing, which is just not something I do. As I repeatedly try to untie my tongue, I hand off the disc and he has an ever so slight humorous smirk on his face. Of course, I turn away quickly so he cannot see my full on blushing! I pretend I’m coughing so I can recover myself. Once I feel I’m at least not bright red, I turn to thank him one last time as he saunters away with his damn near perfect butt bouncing in those slacks.

I go back upstairs to collect myself and I’m quite sure the cleaning crew had to be called to clean up the slime trail I’m sure I had left in my wake. lolol I don’t know if it was the isolation, the testosterone boost from being back in the gym, my naturel gregarious nature, or all of the above, but I was flustered for a good 15 minutes after it was over. I’m sure he delights in knowing he has that affect on women and men as his smirk looked positive and had that knowing realization with it. Hell, it’s been days since it happened and I think I still might need a moist towelette after I finish this post.1

Of course, I had to call my husband and laugh with him and then blow up my coworkers texts on her day off to thank her for the blank disc she sent him. I was so tickled and it was a definite mood booster for the rest of the day.

Even an old dog like me can get flustered at times. Now you know…

  1. TFA if you are reading this post, remember the first time we met? Yeah, I would have begged him too! []

He Was Nice to Me

A somewhat well known racist in our community passed away recently. I won’t mention his name, nor will I link to anything about him here. My rant today has more to do with all the gays1 falling all over themselves to defend their friendship with said person as they mourn his passing.

As a bit of back story, I met this person multiple times in my tenure here in SF. Sometimes it was here in SF and others while I was back visiting in Texas, where he lived for a length of time. Without fail, every time I met this person he managed to tell me in various phrases and words about his racist views. It should come as no surprise he was also a rabid trump supporter. Granted, our first meeting didn’t go so well when I asked why he had a confederate flag tattoo on his chest.2 He gave the typical BS excuse about white heritage.

Fast forward to his recent death and the eulogies about how “they didn’t always see eye to eye but he was a good friend.”  It was almost as if they all got together to work on a standardized message. It would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic. I encountered the same phrasing from various folks on IG multiple times; talking about how “genuine” and “what a great friend” he was prior to his death. He was a proud racist and made no bones about it and these sycophant fa**ots are touting his virtues.

It shouldn’t surprise me, but because some of the people involved I used to admire, it did. Granted, after I reflected on why I admired these guys it was mostly due to their prowess in the gym and/or attractiveness to me. So yeah, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Seeing some of these guys just falling over themselves to qualify “he was always a good friend to me“, or “he was always nice to me“, etc was pretty disgusting. So that makes it ok? In other words, “I knew he was a racist but because he liked me, it didn’t matter.” Hitler was nice to white people, did that make him ok? The most laughable argument was “I wish people knew him in real life vs his social media persona“.  Yeah, I can personally shoot that weak argument down. And to bear, it is just code for he knew we were uncomfortable with his views so he avoided talking too much about them around us so we could pretend he was a good guy. 

Are we so broken as a community that attraction is more important than morals? Or maybe I’m deluding myself that we were ever anything better. There are a lot of things we can agree to disagree on but racism definitely is not one of them. If you’re butt-hurt for being called out on your friendship with a vocal racist, maybe you should spend some time examining why his views weren’t a deal breaker instead of shrugging it off with comments like  “we should respect the dead”. He might be dead but the rot in our community is alive as ever.

  1. read as cis-white gay men []
  2. A tattoo he later had covered up for some “unknown” reason []

Optimisitic

First, thank you to the folks who reached out to me after my last post. I wasn’t down or depressed. I find talking about it quite therapeutic. It was on my mind so I put pen to paper, so to speak. But, yes I’m doing well.

I’ve found myself feeling optimistic again lately. It helps that we are back in the gym again…again. I feel like we’ve crossed a major hurdle now and we are over the worst of this pandemic. The supply is now on track and a 3rd vaccine just got an EUA.1 It is my prediction we won’t see anymore severe lockdowns, at least here in California. Hopefully, my words bear out to be true.

Speaking of the gym, after the first severe lockdown and they sorted out a tier system, I had the roughest time getting back into a solid gym routine. Ironically, right when I found my stride they got shut down again. We’ve been back at it for a couple weeks now and this time it wasn’t as hard. It was a shorter break but I was surprised I didn’t need the extra weeks to build back endurance. The weight I’m slinging is still much lower, but it feels good to be back.

Fun fact, the government will not mandate the vaccine. Vaccines released under EUA aren’t eligible for mandatory vaccination orders. While I trust the sciences, EUAs are designed to allow for immediate use while study continues. However, that does not mean you won’t see restrictions on day to day activities from private companies. You may end up having to show proof to go back to in-person work, fly, or return as an adult to college, etc.

Locally, we are moving into the Red Tier this week. Red is still restrictive but a lot of businesses, including restaurants, get to re-open at limited capacity.  New cases have been below 100 per day for almost two weeks now and available ICU beds are way up. It seems people in general are more optimistic and looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, as vaccinations rise, we will ease back to normal by year end. I’ve even seen some big events toward the end of the year start planning for in person gatherings.

For myself, I miss hugging. Such a small thing but I miss it. Sure, I miss traveling. I miss the ease of just “doing things”, but it’s the little things I miss the most. I miss the casual intimacy that comes from being close to people you know. I’m eagerly looking forward to it.

As always, hope springs eternal…

  1. Emergency Use Authorization []

50

Well, the terrible day has arrived. I’m 50! (Yes, I’m totes joking)

As I’m fond of saying, I’ve reached ancient in gay-years. I’m an elder now. It is time for to don my robe, take up my staff, and take a seat on the #alphabetmafia council. (If you are on TikTok, you know where that phrase came from. I love it!) I mean those free toasters aren’t always enough to swell our ranks, am I right? Apparently, I’m supposed to have lost interest in a whole host of activities I’m still participating in.1 day. I’m hoping the Biden/Harris inauguration goes off without too much drama.

I joke but I know a lot of gay men struggle with aging. Our community isn’t always the kindest to older gays. I’ve never minded my age or aging. And considering for a few reasons, I never thought I’d even reach 50, I’m perfectly fine with it. Sure, there are times I might feel the sting of being less attractive or less appealing as years past, but those things are superficial. I try to take it in stride. My life was a tragic rollercoaster ride before I made it to 25, so 50 has been an easy target.

I can actually remember one time when I was still new to blogging wondering what I would be doing if I made it to 50. In my mind it was a far off place full of disbelief and what-ifs. lolol  Well, here I am. I like to think I’m a better man than I was back then. I certainly struggled along the way. I am a little proud that I am still blogging, albeit nowhere near as often. I took to blogging like it was made for me back then. This blog has been a priceless tool in my journey of self-discovery. I credit so much of my emotional growth to this medium.

As I hit the half centennial mark, I do realize the scope of my age and the breadth of changes in me, my life, and the world around me. I mean, I am old enough to remember Pong after all. There was not internet when I was a kid. There was no cell/smart phones, WIFI, Bluetooth, or social media. Hell, even 911 didn’t exist until I was in high school. Cars didn’t have seatbelts, gasoline was less than a dollar per gallon, TV’s had less than 10 channels with no remote control. Cassette tapes were the size of a small tablet and restaurants still had “smoking or non” in one room. The world has jumped far ahead in technology. Sadly, I’ve witnessed many of the very tools meant to unite us only serve to divide us further.

I’m not feeble just yet but I can’t push myself like I used to when I was a wee lad. That would probably be my only regret at this point. I’m still pretty fit, covid-19 times considered, but the body isn’t as resilient. I’m eagerly headed back to the gym (outdoors) this coming weekend. I had several minor injuries in 2019 that plagued me throughout the whole year. It made me realize I’m not as spry and flexible as I used to be. That said, I look forward to more years in the gym.

I have never been huge on birthdays so not much is planned. I have to work for one. With the covid-19 restrictions still very much in effect, I’ll probably end up doing what I usually do. Sit my wide ass on the couch, cuddle with Daisy2, and play video games. I know I know, I’m not supposed to like video games at my age. Pissh! Tosh! I do what makes brings me joy, naysayers notwithstanding.

I look forward to my years ahead, however many that might be. And as always, hope springs eternal…

 

  1. Maybe now that I am on the council of elders, I’ll be able to get my memos more regularly.) )

    To be honest, I don’t feel 50. Well, parts of me feel 50 but overall, I don’t feel it. My face might look it, but I don’t feel it. And 50 appears to be the new 40 in many of my circles so I guess I don’t have to go into seclusion just yet. Of course, today is also inauguration ((corrected – thanks Kevin! []

  2. and Toby []

Playing It Straight

I was chatting with a FB friend the other day who came out late in his life. He asked me if I had ever thought of going thru life pretending to be straight. He was shocked when I shared the idea had never even occurred to me.

If you’ve been here long enough1, you’ll remember I “left’ home at a very early age. I was also sexually active very early. That said, at the time I still wasn’t actually sure I was gay. When I told my dad on that fateful day, I remember just telling him I liked having sex with guys, not that I was gay. It might seem like I was dense but I had no idea what it was to be gay. All I knew were the stereotypes thrown around every day.  My understanding of “being gay” meant I had to be super effeminate , wear dresses, or want to have sex with animals or kids. And while I turned myself into a stereotype many years later, at that time none of those things applied to me. It wasn’t like I could talk or ask anyone about it. There were no cell-phones, internet, or social media back then. My small town didn’t have ‘dirty magazines’, much less gay ones. We lived so remote we didn’t even have a landline phone.  For a few years I thought I was a straight guy that just liked sucking cock on the side. I kid you not, I thought that way.

Fast forward to my early 20’s, I survived my stepmother’s torment, being thrown out on the street, M’s death, and a near suicide. These things changed me so deeply I can understand why it never occurred to me. The evolution of my understanding and acceptance of myself negated the very idea of pretending. It just wasn’t an option. I could theorize over it but that seems pointless.

My friend was flabbergasted by my story. He just assumed we all hid it when we were kids. Funny how we go thru the world projecting our assumptions. I was a bit shocked he thought all the guys in our age group hid it until we were older.  He was married to a woman. No kids, but not from the lack of ‘trying’ as he put it. He also shared with me he felt ashamed to bottom until he was almost 50. I can’t say that surprised me. Too many fellow homos carry this nonsense around in varying degrees to this day. He also shared with me the torment he lived with knowing he was living a lie. He both loved and resented his wife because of his secret. He was careful to avoid anything “too gay”, lest he be discovered.

It was a very interesting perspective to me because it was so foreign to my own story. It was a really good conversation. Anyone having to hide who they are doesn’t have it easy, regardless of the circumstances. My struggle was and is but one of many.

At this moment in my life, most of my coming out is a dull memory vs the sharp stabbing pain it used to be. And while I have wondered at times what my life would have been like had I not come out when I did, it is not from a sense of wishing it so.

  1. oh you single digits few []

Taught

It is about this time of year you start seeing people lamenting how terrible the year has been and how “they are ready for the new year.” Somehow the new year will be better. I’m usually not in this camp, but clearly that has changed this year.

I think we can all safely say 2020 has been absolute dumpster fire! It started out ok but just ran right down the shitter as things progressed. It certainly has been educational for me. I only wish I could say in a good way. My enduring faith in humanity has definitely been challenged this year.

We’ve got these insidious behind the scenes machinations trying to destroy our way of life. The greedy and power hungry are pulling the strings of our ‘leaders’ while the general populace languishes in poverty. Said population is often so focused on survival they can’t see they are being used as pawns. And seeing some of the most needy in our society support the very same people hurting them is painful to witness. More so, it is a disturbing example of history repeating itself. Rome is definitely burning, folks. To polish off the trifecta, we have the indifferent. These are the people who are well off enough to be completely immersed in the their own little bubble of existence. Occasionally, tidbits of information pierces said bubble but there is no filter to determine it’s accuracy or relevance. At some point a “working knowledge” arises from which all their decisions are based for good or bad. These are usually where you find the Karens of the world. Pity the soul that incurs their wrath by causing them any level of inconvenience.

I am not even sure what my frame of mind would be right now had I not been able to get back in the gym. I had gotten to a point about 5 months in where I wasn’t doing well. I’m sure I looked fine on the outside, but I wasn’t. But, as Elle Woods would say, “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people don’t shoot their husbands.”  And I’m referring to the endorphins, not my husband. lol  Being back in the gym has really helped lift my spirits and pulled me out of being depressed.

Even as I sit here writing this I am struck by my own privilege. I am fortunate to have the opportunity and comfort to sit here whining about this shitty year. I know that and for so many it has been that much harder. I wish I could say that doesn’t necessarily make the impact of this year any less painful. So yeah, I can’t wait for it to be over. I’m hoping the new year is better. I mean, hell. It can’t get much worse, right?1

Hope does springs eternal…

  1. Don’t answer that []

Recovery

Building on my last post, I wanted to share more about the small but welcome improvements in the SF area. California adopted the 4-tier system of restrictions relating to the pandemic. If your state doesn’t have it, it’s pretty simple. Each tier has it’s own level of restrictions, what can/can’t open, etc. We have purple, red, orange, & yellow; purple being the most severe and yellow being the least. It makes it easier for counties and cities to better manage local health orders and restrictions.

Of course, SF being a very dense environment, even when we move into a higher tier we tend to have some lingering tougher restrictions. While unfortunate, it is necessary to avoid a resurgence of cases. And seeing surges in pretty much the entire middle of the US, we are grateful for the slow but steady improvements. SF has officially moved into the orange tier and our ‘rt’ ratio is hovering just below 1.1  Hopefully, we can stay in the orange and yellow tiers.  *crossed fingers*

Indoor bars, theaters, and larger social establishments are still closed. (I don’t understand why theaters can’t open if gyms can, but I don’t make the rules.) Restaurants have been able to serve outdoor seating for awhile now. Some bars have paired up with restaurants to gain an allowance to open outdoors as well. Now that SF is in the orange tier, restaurants and retail shops can open indoor facilities in a limited capacity. For myself, I still avoid eating indoors. I am just not that confident in others. We tend to order for home more than going out to eat, but I try to adhere to my weekend rituals as much as I can.

Shawn and I have slowly been allowing ourselves to do more outside the apt. Meanwhile, I see people planning trips and going to far off places and I just shake my damn head. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that a lot of people don’t really give two-shits about others as long as they aren’t inconvenienced. But, I digress… I have restrictions that also affect my ability to work so even if I was more comfortable, I would still not be traveling.

I’ve been seeing and helping an elderly retired coworker since the beginning of the pandemic and every time I see him, I make sure to test negative for covid-19 beforehand. Before we could get tests, I would leave disinfected items outside his doorway or stairs. He is in a high risk category due to his age and I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed it on to him.2 Anyway, I’m getting upset thinking about it, let me move on.

Beyond the assistance to my dear friend above, we are just now reaching a point where we feel comfortable meeting people outdoors for meals or conversation. I say we, but it is more me. lol Shawn is still content to avoid people for the most part. He will probably be reticent until there is a viable vaccine. Even when to go to the gym, we usually go to a sparsely populated location with sign-ups well below the allowable limit.3 It has been good for him to get out of the apt more though. He was getting really depressed as well. I think the gym and the sporadic trips outside of the apt has helped him as much as it has me.

Of course, we miss traveling. We miss weekend jaunts to bars, beer busts, movies, etc. We miss visiting distant friends and places. We miss a lot of things. It sucks monkey balls, but we know by isolating we are helping to prevent the spread of covid-19. We are both hopeful a safe vaccine will be available sometime early next year. For myself, I doubt I’ll ever take for granted again the openness of our life. The simple freedom to hug friends, to kiss or touch others, to be close to people. I think the intimacy of strangers (if such a thing exists) is what I miss the most. The relaxed restrictions gives me hope we are on the right path. Until then, I hope you are safe and well.

  1. rt is the likelihood of retransmission from an infected person. Anything above 1 is considered not good. []
  2. or anyone for that matter. []
  3. You can see online how many slots are available and taken by the hour. []

Herd

So today, the official response from the Whitehouse (WH) is they now endorse herd immunity as a regimen to combat the spread of covid-19.

First, here is the definition of “herd immunity”:

the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.

“the level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity varies by disease but ranges from 83 to 94 percent”

Webster’s dictionary

Based on that, herd immunity is currently impossible. We cannot use herd immunity as a treatment regimen because we don’t have a vaccine!

The WH’s deliberate misinterpretation of the idea is to do nothing. Just let everyone be exposed and see who lives and dies. That is NOT herd immunity. This approach pushes the death toll into the millions, not the low hundreds of thousands like we have now. Just one percent of the US population, just one (1) percent, is over three (3) million people!  If we jump that up to five (5) percent, the death toll is just under 17 million people.

For perspective, one percent is more than the entire population of Phoenix, AZ. Five percent is more than the entire population of the New York City metro area. And this does not take into account the millions more who will struggle with lingering illness for weeks or months.

Even if you’re dumb and deaf, you can understand how insanely stupid and dangerous this is.

Voting has never been more important. It is heartening to see many cities are reporting record numbers of registered voters as well as early voting. Vote like your life depends on it because it just might this time.